Olivia Mehaffey and Alice Hewson into final round of Augusta National Women's Amateur
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 05/04/19 8:04am
British Curtis Cup stars Olivia Mehaffey and Alice Hewson can look forward to competing at Augusta National on Saturday after qualifying for the final round of the inaugural Augusta National Women's Amateur.
Both will head into the historic final 18 holes of the tournament in a tie for 11th place on one over par following the first two rounds at nearby Champions Retreat, where world amateur No 1 Jennifer Kupcho claimed the outright lead after adding a 71 to her opening 68.
All of the 72 starters have the chance to enjoy a practice round at Augusta National on Friday, although only the top 30 will tee up for the final round on Saturday.
There were 11 players tied for 21st place after 36 holes and a play-off was required to eliminate one, with nine of them advancing with a par at the first extra hole.
That left Spaniard Ainhoa Olarra and Italy's Alessia Nobilio competing for the final berth in the final round, and it was Olarra who snatched the place when she holed a superb 20-foot putt for a birdie at the short 17th which Nobillo could not match.
Mehaffey and Hewson qualified with two strokes to spare, although Northern Ireland's Mehaffey was thankful for three birdies in five holes late in her round after she had covered her first nine holes in 38 with three bogeys.
Hewson needed a strong round having opened with a disappointing 76, and she delivered in style as she made five birdies in seven holes on the back nine after starting on the 10th, and she held it together on the outward half to return a 69 and get within six of the leader.
But Hewson's English compatriots, Annabell Fuller (+6) and Lily May Humphreys (+12), were both unable to advance, with Fuller dropping five shots over the last six holes in her second-round 77.
Kupcho, meanwhile, will start the final round as the firm favourite despite seeing her lead trimmed to a single shot when she dropped shots at two of her last five holes having earlier got to seven under and without a bogey on her card in 31 holes.
The American holds a slim lead over Mexico's Maria Fassi, with Kaitlyn Papp (69), Pimnipa Panthong (70) and Sierra Brooks (70) two shots off the pace as only seven players finished under the card in cool and blustery conditions.